Fadhel Al-Maliki, a 35-year-old Iraqi national living in Atlantic City, N.J., had been flagged by security officials at LAX and was undergoing a secondary “selectee screening” when he set off a metal detector. As Al-Maliki was being detained, his two bags were loaded on to US Airways Flight 1422, which took off for Philadelphia with 143 passengers and six crew members on board, said Liz Landau, a spokeswoman for the airline.
Al-Maliki, a former security guard, told screeners that he knew what had triggered the alarm and proceeded to remove items from his rectum, including a rock, chewing gum and thin wire filament.
Concern that the objects might be components for an explosive device led airport authorities to call in the Los Angeles Police Department and FBI bomb technicians as well as a hazardous material team. During questioning, Al-Maliki said the objects in his rectum were used to alleviate stress, federal law enforcement sources said.
The rock, authorities said he told them, was from another planet.